Another trip to the Grand Teton/Yellowstone National Parks

We have been to the Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks several times. We are back once again with one of our daughters and her children since they have never been here. We also brought one of my other daughters daughter who has never seen this place or any mountains.

We were a few days later getting started than we planned due to some issues with our RV. Our first night on the road was okay with no issues. However, on our second day we had a little problem. We were in Raton, NM on the second day. I had not checked our propane supply before we left, so I went out in the morning to check before leaving Raton. When I moved the hose to the propane bottle, I heard a hissing sound a smelled the distinctive odor of propane. One of the connections was leaking. I checked around and there was no RV supply place in Raton. However, I went to the local propane delivery facility and explained my problem. They came out to the camper, took the problem hose off and made another connection at their facility. Problem solved. That only put us about and hour and a half late.

The next night was in Cheyenne, WY. When we arrived at the Cheyenne KOA, the kitchen slide came out crooked . For the third time, one of the bolts in the torque rod had failed and came out. Fortunately, I had purchased two additional bolts last year when I had the same problem. With a little effort and help from a fellow camper, I was able to get the bolt back in the hole with the slide aligned properly. I need to figure out why the bolt keeps sheering. Since I am using a class 8 bolt, this should not be happening.

So the next day we pressed on to Rocksprings, WY. The next morning it was raining and I was trying to stay as dry as possible. I wasn’t going to check the tire pressures because of the rain, but something told me I needed to check them since I had trouble with a leak in the rim of the back left tire. I checked and the pressure was down to 45 psi, essentially flat for a tire that requires 110 psi. Read my previous blog where I detail the problem that I had with a wheel.

Fortunately, there was a tire shop in Rocksprings that worked on large truck tires and sold wheels. I aired the tire up and drove from the campground to the tire shop. They confirmed my suspension that the weld in the wheel was leaking. So I bought a new wheel, even though it didn’t match the other wheels. Hopeful that our troubles were over, we pressed on to the Grand Teton RV Park.

We spent a week in the Grand Teton/Yellowstone area showing the grandkids the sights. They saw Old Faithful and many other geyser fields. From there, we headed for Estes Park.

Grand Teton National Park

Grand Teton National Park

Yellowstone National Park

Grandkids in front of Yellowstone National Park sign

Old Faithful Geyser

Grandkids at Old Faithful in Yellowstone National Park

Old Faithful Geyser

Old Faithful Geyser erupting

Dragon's Breath

Dragon’s Breath at Mud Volcano in Yellowstone National Park


Trouble on a recent trip to South Padre Island

Last month, June 2014, we took a trip down to South Padre Island, Texas.  This was our first visit to South Padre Island in our 5th wheel and to the South Padre KOA.  We had heard a lot about South Padre and had some friends and relatives tell us about the South Padre KOA.  The beaches were reported to be nicer than our local beaches on the upper Texas coast, so we thought we’d take our annual beach trip with our grandchildren to that location.

We had a good time but did not find that the beaches lived up to our expectations.  It is hard to beat the beaches in the Florida panhandle, but we needed to visit South Padre at least once.  The KOA campground was okay but we did not like our RV site.  We were basically in a parking lot that had been converted to several RV sites.

RV site

RV site at South Padre KOA

So what trouble did we have on this trip?  If you read my blog, you know that it is hard for us to go on a trip in our RV and not have some sort of problem.

On the morning of our departure from South Padre  I noticed, when I went out to start the outside cleanup, that the back rear tire on the door side of the trailer was flat.  That puzzled me since the night before it was inflated properly.  I had checked the inflation so as not to have to check it in the morning.  I looked over the tire and could not see any obvious damage or nails in the tire.  I aired the tire up to proper inflation pressure, hooked the truck to the trailer so I could pull it forward and check the part of the tire that was on the ground.  When I felt that portion  of the tire, I felt a bubble in the middle of the tire.  This was an indication that the tread was starting to separate.  I had the tire changed and called Discount Tire in Harlingen, Texas, which is about 60 miles from where we were, to make sure they had a replacement tire.  By the time that we had the tire replaced about 5 hours had elapsed so we decided to stop for the night at Sea Breeze RV Park in Portland, Texas.

I thought that it was providence that I had found a potential tire separation before it occurred and it probably was.   However, our troubles had just begun.

We went to Sea Breeze RV Park in Portland, Texas, arriving around 7 pm.  We had never been here before and the office had closed leaving us with directions on how to get into our site.  I looked at the directions and couldn’t believe that they put us into that site.  There was no way I could turn to the right and get into that site.  I looked at the map and saw that I could go around a circle a have a more direct shot into the site.  The problem was that this is an old campground with narrow roads and lots of trees.  As I came to the bottom of the circle I could see that I had a problem with a tree on the left and campers close on the right.  I swung out as far as I could to the right and thought that I would miss the tree on the left.  It had been trimmed back at some point in time, but as my attention was focused on the camper in front of me, I hit the tree on the left side of my camper.  It took me many tries to back and pull forward to work my way out of the close quarters I had found myself in.  We managed to get into our site but there were trees on the left and right.  Sparing you the details, we decided to leave the less than desirable Sea Breeze RV Park and just go home.

RV Roof Damage

Roof damage

We arrived home just after midnight.  We unloaded just the necessities and left the rest for the morning.

The next morning, while I was unloading the trailer, I noticed that the new tire I had bought the prior day was flat.  What!!  This can’t be!  I aired the tire up to proper inflation and by that afternoon the tire was almost flat again.  The next day I took that tire to Discount Tire and demanded a new and different brand of 14 ply tire.  They were very accommodating and exchanged the tire.  (Nothing but good to say about Discount Tire).  They next day, the new tire was flat again!  I couldn’t believe this!  How can I be so unlucky?  Back to Discount Tire.

This time a guy named Gregg helped me.  He was as puzzled as I, but said there had to be a reason other than a bad tire.  He put the tire in a tank of water, as they should have done the first time, and found that it wasn’t a tire problem but a pin hole leak in the tire rim.  I had never seen that before but Gregg said that he had seen it several times.  Knowing what to do, Gregg referred me to Alloy Wheel Repair.  They were able to weld the area where the pinhole was and therefore stop the leak.

One thing that I have learned about RVing is to always expect the unexpected.  When you pull a trailer as many miles a year as we do, something always seem to shake loose.  We are ready to go again and can’t help but wonder what is next.


Campers shutout by government shutdown

You wouldn’t think that the government shutdown would affect the camping industry, but it has. I had not thought about it until I saw an article about a campground being closed because of the government shutdown. So I got on the internet and searched for campgrounds affected by the shutdown. As usual when you search on Google you get a multitude of results and many of them were of campground closures.

Most the closures are of the National Parks and the Corps of Engineers campgrounds. However, this is a large number of campgrounds since there are a large number of National Parks and Corps of Engineer campgrounds. Most all of the parks have camping facilities for tent campers and RVers. This presents a large problem for those who were in the parks and told they had to leave by today. It also presents a problem for those who had reservations and will not be allowed to keep those reservations.

The most extreme case of inconvenience that I saw was of a group that had planned a 20 day rafting trip down the Colorado River. It had taken this guy 18 years to get a permit for the trip. Now they are at the launch point at Lee’s Ferry and told they can’t go. Check this link for his story.

There are a lot of people who are out of work because of this stupid shutdown. Our leaderless government needs to think of the people and not of themselves and their private agendas. Get this thing figured out now, and get people back to work!